Moneylife Events
Moneylife RTI workshop: How to use RTI effectively, for beginners

The 140th seminar of Moneylife Foundation was focussed to empower those who are planning to seek information under the Right to Information Act 

The second beginners’ workshop on the Right to Information (RTI) Act received a good response from Moneylife Foundation members. Over 100 members participated in the first set of workshops for beginners as well as regular users of the RTI Act. The sessions were conducted by former Central Information Commissioner (CIC), Shailesh Gandhi. Mr Gandhi focussed on the understanding of the key provisions of the RTI Act and how to file effective applications with important dos and don’ts to ensure your queries are answered. Mr Gandhi delved more on the intricacies of filling the forms and the best practices to be followed.
Similar to the previous seminar for beginners, Mr Gandhi took the members through the important sections of the RTI Act in detail. He focussed on what kind of information can be sought and emphasised that all information that is available as a record in any tangible form can be provided. Mr Gandhi explained the RTI application format and the format for filing an appeal to the participants. He mentioned that an applicant should be put down his queries in a concise and specific manner. The information sought should not be vague and a reasonable timeline should be given and most importantly whether the information sought will be available on record. The application should be addressed to the right department, he added. If not done, it would create unnecessary delays. The RTI should be sent preferably through Speed Post, as this you get an acknowledgement that the public information officer (PIO) has received it.
Mr Gandhi also covered the sections under which information can be refused. The only sections under which the information sought can be refused are Section 8 and Section 9 of the RTI Act, explained Mr Gandhi. The RTI Act lists special instances where the authorities are exempt from disclosing information. Section 8 of the Act for the exemption from disclosure of information is used as a lame excuse not to provide information. There have been many examples where the citizen has got the information he or she asked for, which has been earlier denied to him by the PIO or Appellate Authority, under the pretext of Section 8. For, when the citizen pursued the matter by appealing to the Central or State Information Commissioner, he or she invariably received the information. In other cases, the Information Commissioner also denied the information, so the citizen appealed to the high court and won the case, as the judge directed the information commission to provide information. Mr Gandhi explained this section in detail and offered advice how one can phrase their queries in such a way that the information cannot be rejected under this section.
We have also compiled a list of important judgements in cases where the information sought has been wrongly refused. Read here
The next session on RTI is for advanced RTI users on 17 December 2012. This session is for those who have already filed multiple RTI applications and need to understand how to navigate the appeals process all the way to the CIC hearings. Another set of workshops would be conducted next month as well on the first and third Monday for beginners and advanced users respectively.
 For more information on RTI workshops, click here.


SC stays TDSAT's order that removed cap on number of SMSes

The apex court had reimposed the restriction of 200 SMSes that can be sent in per day per SIM

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday stayed order issued by Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT), which had quashed the sector regulator Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI)'s circular limiting the number of SMSes to 200 per day per SIM, reports PTI.


In a brief hearing, a bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi stayed the tribunal's order and issued notice to late Balasaheb Thackeray's grandson Aditya on whose plea TDSAT had passed the order.


The apex court passed the order on an appeal filed by TRAI challenging tribunal's order and asked Thackeray to respond to regulator's plea within six weeks.


With today's stay order, the sector regulator can enforce the circular till the apex court vacates its stay on the verdict by the TDSAT.


TDSAT had on 17th July termed the ceiling on SMSes as "arbitrary" and against the right of freedom of speech and expression guaranteed under the Constitution and had set aside the sector regulator TRAI's circular.


Uddhav Thackeray's son Aditya had submitted that the restriction on SMSes was just a "non-application of mind" by TRAI and the circular fixing ceiling "has not explained why and how the figure of 100/200 SMS(s) per day was arrived at."


He had further contended that no consultation process was adopted by TRAI before incorporating the clause in this regard in the Telecom Commercial Communications Customer Preference (8th Amendment) Regulation, 2011.


TRAI had permitted sending only 100 SMSes per day per SIM except on blackout days or days specially notified by it.


However, on 1 November 2011, it had increased the limit to 200 SMSes per day, per SIM.


Personal Finance Exclusive
HDFC Life Pension: Are you keen on a 1% guaranteed return?

The new pension product meets with IRDA guidelines and offers capital protection. If that is all it guarantees, a bank recurring deposit scheme (though taxable) is much better option

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority’s (IRDA) guidelines mandate some guarantee of returns from pension products. In short, today IRDA only wants capital protection for pension products. HDFC Life has launched Pension Super Plus and Single Premium Pension Super offering a guarantee of 1% p.a. Will savers be interested?


While the actual fund performance may give a much higher return, will customers put money into a long-term product of 10 to 20 years and only be guaranteed of 1% p.a. return. What is so unique about pension products when a customer can easily put the same money in 10-year recurring deposits (RD) and still get guaranteed 9% p.a.? A pension product mandates annuity after completion of accumulation phase after taking out maximum of one-third of the corpus tax free. Savers can as well buy immediate annuity product after generating decent corpus with RDs.


HDFC Life’s pension products will have equity exposure of 0% to 60%, which can only be controlled by the insurance company. Only time will tell how much is really invested in equity and what are the actual returns from the product. The insurance company may play safe if it feels that equity exposure can lead to losses.


The new guidelines mandate annuity phase from the same insurance company. If it is not the best offer, the policyholder is still stuck with the same insurance company. HDFC Life has also launched New Immediate Annuity Plan. While the corpus generated during the accumulation phase is tax-free, the annuity payout is taxable. HDFC annuity rates are competitive, but lesser than LIC annuity rates for many age groups. Pension product customers will have to accept the annuity rates offered at the end of accumulation phase.


Annuity products with return of purchase price allow the principal amount to be given to the beneficiaries only after the death of annuitant. In short, the money put in any annuity product is locked for lifetime; the annuitant will only get fixed rate of return every year. HDFC Life New Immediate Annuity Plan has an innovative option of “return of 100% of the purchase price on diagnosis of critical illness or death”. Upon the annuitant being diagnosed with any of the six specified illnesses before age 85 or on death of the annuitant, whichever occurs earlier, the annuity payments will cease and 100% of the purchase price of the annuity will be payable.


The assured death benefit is total premiums paid to date accumulated at a guaranteed rate of 6% p.a. Pension products are not for those looking for decent life insurance component. It is mainly for investment purposes for generating retirement corpus. Insurance companies bargained hard to remove the non-zero return for policy surrender. Giving such a guarantee at anytime during the policy term was termed unrealistic by insurers; non-zero returns on maturity is what insurers will have to offer.


Regulations governing pensions post-September 2010 mandated a 4.5% minimum guarantee. But that did not attract much interest from insurance companies except LIC. There was an argument that giving 4.5% p.a. for long-term accumulation phase of premium payable every year was difficult because there were not enough debt instruments to lock in. Giving only non-zero returns does have the insurer interested, but will the insured bite the bait? If there is a separate category created for tax deductions (other than 80C) for pension investment that will kick-start the investment in pension products. Pension sales for insurance companies fell from 30% to less than 3% in the last couple of years.


HDFC Life Pension Super Plus


Entry and Maturity Age: Minimum age at entry is 35 years and maximum age is 65 years. Minimum age at vesting is 55 years and maximum vesting age is 75 years.


Policy term: 10, 15 and 20 years

Minimum Premium: Rs24,000 per year

Maximum Premium: No limit

Death benefit: The assured death benefit is total premiums paid to date accumulated at a guaranteed rate of 6% p.a.


Vesting benefit: Assured benefit of 101% of total premiums paid


Fund option: Cash and Money market instruments–0% to 40%; government securities and fixed income instruments–40% to 100% and equity of 0% to 60%.


HDFC Life Single Premium Pension Super


Entry and Maturity Age: Minimum age at entry is 40 years and maximum age is 75 years. Minimum age at vesting is 50 years and maximum vesting age is 85 years.


Policy term: 10 years

Minimum Premium: Rs25,000

Maximum Premium: No limit

Death benefit: The assured death benefit is 101% of total premiums paid


Vesting benefit: Assured benefit of 101% of total premiums paid


Fund option: Cash and Money market instruments–0% to 40%; government securities and fixed income instruments–40% to 100% and Equity of 0% to 60%.



suresh kumar gupta

4 years ago

i like to draw the kind attention regarding the unprofessional working of HDFC OFFICER

suresh kumar gupta

4 years ago

Dear all
the service of HDFC SLIC is very very poor

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